Army boots to be proudly made in Australia

The Australian Army will now source its formal parade boots from Australian company RM Williams. The existing Chinese-made patent leather parade boots - which have had so many problems with soles detaching will be phased out over the next three years.

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator Ian Macdonald, has welcomed the change to the iconic Australian supplier.

In May 2012 during a welcome home parade along the Strand in Townsville home to Australias largest Army base, Lavarack Barracks I was dismayed to see hundreds of boot soles being left behind as the troops marched by, he said

I was appalled that our returning service personnel were subjected to this kind of embarrassment and I called on the Labor Government to address the problem, and asked questions of the Defence Department at Senate Estimates hearings calling for a change of supplier.

I am very glad that the Government has heeded my calls.

Travelling with the Queensland Senate Team, Senator Macdonald is this morning at Packer Leather manufacturing plant in Narangba in Queensland, a supplier of raw leather to RM Williams.

I am at Packer Leather today with the LNP Senate Team, and the Member for Longman Mr Wyatt Roy, discussing with the owners their involvement with RM Williams.

The Packer family has been involved in the leather trade since 1891 and today Packer Leather employs 90 people but, like most other small Australian manufacturing businesses, it has had a difficult time with increasing government regulations, huge increases in electricity from the carbon tax and the exchange rate.

The decision to source parade boots through RM Williams will be a great boost to Australian manufacturing - it means that Army footwear is being manufactured in Australia, using Australian products supplied by companies like Packer Leather.

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